DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - A 15-year-old student from Cross Keys High School in the DeKalb County School District died from the flu on Sunday, school officials said Monday.
A note from Principal Jason Heard informed the staff of the teen’s passing Monday morning after classes started.
The student who died was Miguel Jaimes Martinez.
"We just didn't see him for a week. We were confused," Diego Castro, one of Miguel's friends, told Channel 2 Action News.
Castro said he grew up with Miguel and treated him like a little brother.
"It's just incredible. It's hard to believe," he said.
Miguel's mother told Channel 2 Action News that her son was a sweet, charming kid who loved playing soccer.
Here’s the note Heard sent to staff members Monday: “Good morning teachers and staff members. It is with regret that I have to inform you of the sudden passing of student Miguel Jaimes Martinez. The counselors are arranging class visits but if you have any students who need to be seen before the classroom visitation please do not hesitate to send them to the media center. Thank you.”
Miguel's death is apparently the first in the district related to the flu. DeKalb County School District officials said in an interview last week that no student deaths had been reported at that point.
DeKalb County School District Superintendent R. Stephen Green sent Channel 2 Action News the following statement Monday afternoon: "The entire DeKalb County School District is saddened by the news that one of our own has passed away due to illness. Our thoughts and prayers are with the student's family, loved ones and peers in this unfortunate and trying time. Counselors will be made available to students and staff members at Cross Keys High School during this difficult event.”
More than 60 Georgians have died from the flu this season, and school districts are taking extra precautions as the number of people stricken with the illness continues to grow.
Channel 2's Audrey Washington questioned the Georgia Department of Public Health about the flu threat Tuesday.
“It’s one of the highest flu activities that we’ve ever seen in Georgia. It’s a very intense flu season and it still seems to be increasing actually," Dr. Cherie Drenzek said.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this report.
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